DCF Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Charlie Crist

Robert A. Butterworth

March 4, 2008 (850) 488-4855

Florida Declares Social Workers Are Cornerstone of Health and Human Services

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Children and Families and the Florida Department of Health employ thousands of social workers throughout the state dedicated to guiding families and individuals through complex issues. As the nation recognizes March as Social Worker Awareness Month, Florida honors the many dedicated social work professionals in our state and thanks them for their contributions in helping Florida’s most vulnerable residents.

Through education, training and dedication, social workers provide assistance in many different areas of practice including health, child welfare, aging, mental health and substance abuse treatment, cancer, end-of-life choices, adolescent health, HIV/AIDS and family violence.

“Everyday social workers across the state fight for Florida’s families and for Florida’s future. Their energy, compassion and dedication are nothing short of staggering,” said Children and Families Secretary Bob Butterworth. “During this month, we pause to remember all that social workers do and thank them for a job well done.”

The volume and nature of social service and health care needs continues to change. More than one million veterans are returning from overseas, more than 45,000 children are a part of Florida’s child welfare system and hundreds of thousands of families deal with health, homelessness, or addiction on any given day. Professional, experienced social workers are in greater demand now than ever before to help people address these needs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for social workers is expected to grow twice as fast as any other occupation, especially in gerontology, home health care, substance abuse, private social service agencies and school social work.

“This year’s theme ‘Building on Strengths: Help Starts Here’ – highlights the unique education and training of the nation’s 600,000 social workers who work with families and communities to strengthen and support them during challenging times,” said Deputy Secretary for Health Jean Kline, R.N., B.S.N., M.P.H. “Social workers understand that the foundation for growth and change in individuals, families, and communities are their strengths.”

President Ronald Reagan first proclaimed March as National Professional Social Work Month in 1984. Organized by the National Association of Social Workers, the month is a time to reflect on the history of the profession, celebrate the important work of social workers and look to the future of social workers and the individuals whose lives they have changed forever.

The Department of Health promotes, protects and improves the health of all people in Florida. For more information on public health social work, visit www.doh.state.fl.us/Family/social work/index.html.

For more information about the programs and services offered by the Florida Department of Children and Families, visit www.state.fl.us/cf_web/.


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